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American College Of Sports Medicine Report – Part 1

acsm eggsStudy #1 – Protein Power (1)

This study came out of a combined effort from the College of New Jersey and the University of Memphis, TN. As many of you already know, the RDA for protein (0.8 mg per kg bodyweight) is set at a ridiculously low level. Athletes need much more protein than the RDA recommends. Eating enough protein is crucial for an athlete’s muscle maintenance and growth, as well as for athletic performance.

This study randomized 21 experienced male athletes into two groups. One group consumed 2.0 g protein/kg bodyweight for twelve weeks, and the other group consumed 1.2 g protein/kg bodyweight. Each group prior to starting the twelve-week protocol performed a series of exercise tests – 1 Rep Max squat, 1 Rep Max bench press, body composition analysis, and 30-second Wingate Anaerobic Power test.

Each group performed the same resistance training program for the twelve weeks. At the end of the twelve weeks the same four tests were performed again. Not surprisingly, all subjects in both groups improved their 1RM squat, increased their 1RM bench, improved their score for anaerobic power, and gained muscle mass while losing body fat. These were outstanding health improvements all around! However, the higher protein supplementation group (2.0 g vs. 1.2 g) displayed statistically significant greater gains in their 1RM bench and squat. For example, the higher protein group added an average of 52 lbs. to their 1RM squat; whereas, the lower protein group only added an average twenty pounds.

Take home message: Protein supplementation in conjunction with a strength training routine will lead to superior increases in strength over strength training alone.

Study #2 – How Fit Are You Really? (2)

acsm gymThere is a mountain of evidence that has shown that the worse your cardiovascular fitness level the greater your risk for a variety of diseases. The worse your level of muscular fitness and flexibility, the harder activities of daily living become for you. While many athletes are tested on a variety of components of fitness, few adults ever test themselves.

The study by faculty at San Jose State and Evergreen Valley college in San Jose, CA, examined the difference between how adults rate their perceived fitness level and their actual fitness level. Subjects were asked to predict their fitness measurements in five different physical tests; the Cooper 12-minute run, a seven-site skinfold test, a push-up test, a one-minute partial sit-up test, and a sit-and-reach test. These five tests represented the four areas of fitness: strength, body composition, flexibility, and endurance.

A total of 56 adults with an average age of 52 were involved in this study, and the results were incredible. The subjects overestimated their cardiovascular fitness level, their muscular fitness, their body composition, and their flexibility. These results were statistically significant with p-values of <0.01. What was even more interesting was the more obese and less fit an individual was the more he or she overestimated their fitness levels. Also, women overestimated their fitness levels more than men.

Take home message: You are not as fit as you think you are! If you are on any training or conditioning program, you should be testing yourself before you start a nutrition or conditioning program to get a fitness baseline. Also, you should be periodically retesting yourself to make sure your nutrition and conditioning programs are meeting your goals!